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Achieving a Balance in Life

We all earn or create a certain amount of income during our lifetime. This can be through employment, investment or setting up a business. However, what you do with this income will determine how financially successful you are, which will ultimately impact on your ability to enjoy life.

Some people appear to work 24/7. We see that on TV programmes with some characters in high pressure jobs where there is the stress that they must be successful. Most of us also know people who always appear to be working, and not taking time out to do non-work-related fun activities.

Currently we have an election, with the prize for the contestants effectively being a three-year employment contract as a member of parliament. How enjoyable and satisfying this will be for the 120 -122 successful candidates, will depend on them being either in government or in opposition. Almost half will be in opposition, where it is difficult to make any real meaningful contribution other than trying to make life difficult for the government. Some thrive at this; however, it often seems to be more style than substance.

The chosen few will rise through the ranks and become Ministers of the Crown. That all comes with a cost, that of being able to achieve a life balance, with time for partners, children, and relaxation. The rewards are financial, and also the baubles of office. The greatest reward will be the actual achievements and the benefits to society from their endeavours in political power.

Individually, one of the most difficult things for most people is managing their hard-earned money. It has been likened to juggling balls while walking along a tightrope. That tightrope is keeping within your budget. The last thing we want is a deficit, going into debt.

There is a balance to be made between spending money on luxuries, between spending now or later (as in retirement), between spending on lifestyle and investing in assets that will produce more income, and between earning more or working less.

Those who are not very adept with managing their money tend to operate in the here and now, living from one payday to another. They struggle when there is an unexpected bill. They also do not tend to have clear goals.

Financially successful people tend to take a longer-term view of their financial situation and set priorities for their spending. They make trade-offs as to when they really want to achieve things by.

By doing this, a real balance in life can be achieved. To get there often means a compromise must be reached between partners as to what the destination will be, and the expected arrival time. What the politicians do over the next few years will impact on our life balances. We may end up paying more in taxes, impacting on our ability to meet our own goals.


Steven Barton (FSP 32663) and Susan Pascoe Barton (FSP 32382) are Certified Financial Planners and Authorised Financial Advisers.  Their initial disclosure statements are available free of charge by contacting them on (07) 3060080 or they can be downloaded from www.pascoebarton.co.nz. This column is general in nature and should not be regarded as personalised investment advice.